After discovering that the cycle machines weren’t working, except for the one which was occupied, I found a lazy option: tables with charging stations built in. There I sat and enjoyed the music that someone was playing on the public piano and did some people watching. I also shared a conversation with a guy from Algeria whose son lives in Canberra and who was on his way to a little village in Brittany for his holidays.
Getting on the train was a bit of a hassle, since the aisles are very narrow and my suitcase is not. I created a little bit of a traffic jam with my case and my carry on bags. I was a little embarrassed to have the help of a fellow passenger to put my case up on the shelf, but grateful all the same. When it was time to change trains I gave myself a bit of unnecessary exercise: I heaved my case up the long flight of stairs, ready to change platforms…. and then realised I had been in the right place all along.
It was good to be walking from the station to my hotel at La Rochelle, otherwise I think I would have fallen asleep on the journey. The attendant in the foyer welcomed me in English, and began to explain how to use the key using rather strange combinations of words. I must have told him he could explain in French because he looked at me surprise and relief, and switched into French himself. Funnily enough this time round I understood a whole lot better.
Upstairs in my room it was lovely to take a shower and hop into bed. I even managed to sleep right through until morning.